Debrigarh Sanctuary In Odisha Launches ‘Star Gazing’ Initiative For Tourists

Bargarh: In order to attract visitors, particularly celestial watchers, the authorities of Debrigarh Sanctuary in Odisha’s Bargarh district have launched the initiative of “Star Gazing”.

The sanctuary, located near the Hirakud Dam, offers ideal conditions for stargazing due to lack of human habitation and expansive and dark sky free from light pollution. It makes visibility clear and easy identification of stars, constellations and a few planets like Jupiter directly from Debrigarh.

Key celestial features visible from Debrigarh include Sirius, the brightest star in the western sky, and Dhruv Tara (North Star), which indicates true north. Nearby are Saptarshi Mandal (Ursa Major) and other constellations like Ursa Minor, Leo, Libra, and Gemini.

“While these stars are visible round the year, Milky Way is visible from Debrigarh only during summer. Similarly, Mars and Venus are visible during winter. Comets can be seen round the year depending on timings. As vast stretch of sky is visible with Hirakud below, sunset and moon rise is also clearly visible from Debrigarh,” said Anshu Pragyan Das, DFO Hirakud Wildlife Division, Debrigarh Sanctuary.

In order to facilitate the stargazing, soft lights without any reflection towards sky have been put in the whole campus of Debrigarh Ecotourism after 6.30 pm. Previous light arrangements (strong lights) have been completely removed and replaced with star watching campus lighting, he added.

“The sanctuary has installed constructed six new stargazing rooms with glass roofs and soft, non-reflective lighting at Debrigarh Nature Camp. These rooms feature star photo frames and stargazing literature. A telescope is also available for deeper sky exploration,” said the DFO.

Local community members, trained in identifying stars and constellations, guide visitors from 7 pm to 7.30 pm. This initiative has generated significant interest with many bookings for the new stargazing rooms.

Sharing her experience during her first visit to the sanctuary, Dr Archana Pani, Chief Medical Officer from Rourkela, said, “It exceeded her expectations. “I opted for the stargazing cabin and had the opportunity to witness stars during the night. The hospitality and food provided by the staff were exceptional.”

For Rishika, a Class X student, the sanctuary’s library was a wonderful retreat where she spent extended periods. She appreciated the opportunity to observe stars through the telescope and found solace in the beautiful, peaceful and natural surroundings.

Besides having the experience of stargazing, one can get the chance to see some wild animals. The sanctuary is home to over 40 mammalian species, 12 amphibian, 200 bird, 40 reptile, 42 fish, 39 odonate, 85 butterfly and 38 spider species.

The new stargazing rooms can be booked on the official site EcoTourOdisha or by calling 9438113285/ 8763373989/ 6372907291, the DFO said.

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